The Perfect KINILAW Moment

My family and I spent a few days in Davao last week to visit my grandparents and other relatives. They were all very eager to meet out little one. Henri was also delighted to meet all his cousins! Everyone was crazy about him :) And as expected, everyday was literally a PIG-out day...there was pork all the time, be it lechon, inihaw, chicharon, etc -- yikes! It's heart attack calling! Tsk tsk tsk...

On the brighter and healthier side of things, was one dish I keep craving for every time I'm there. One of the things I really love about Davao is that I get to eat KINILAW everyday if I want to. When my Lola Thelma was still into cooking (now she's too weak to work in the kitchen), she would make this for me everytime because she knew I loved it so much. Anyway during my recent stay, I was able to satisfy my craving for this. My husband loves it too so we savored each fresh malasugui (kind of white fish) bite together. For those not so familiar, let me share with you what KINILAW is...

"Kinilaw" means to cook in vinegar. The kinilaw moment is the instant when the souring agent (most commonly vinegar) meets the raw fish/seafood/meat and the transformation begins from the raw state. The perfect moment is marked visually with the change of the meat and its translucency without getting to being totally opaque because that means it's overdone already. Texturally, it is a moment when the fish/seafood retains the firm softness of the raw, but reaches a new state of being that has been called niluto sa asim - "cooked", or more accurately transformed, in sourness. It is not an opaque solidity, with the fibres white and the flesh texture that of poached fish. Along the spectrum, it is nearer the raw than the cooked, the flesh just a breath away from the natural state, mediated only by the vinegar-acid. (taken from 

Freshly-made Kinilaw

This kinilaw moment spells comfort and bliss for me every time I visit Davao. Hope you have your "moment" too! 


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